Tale of the Frozen Bits

12 February 2023 — 12 March 2023

‘I need urine, fresh urine, I need all the urine in the world!’ 
The Discovery of Nuns’ Urine – El Morgan (2022)

Tale of the Frozen Bits is the first major solo exhibition of work by El Morgan. 

Incorporating video, text and installation, the exhibition explores the rich and surprising history of fertility drugs, a witches brew of ingredients that laid the path for our modern day medicines. Gallons of nun’s urine, multiplying hamster cells, horse glands and millions of frogs appear in a playful narrative that opens up our relationship with the bodies of women and the often ethically controversial branch of medicine. At a time when reproductive rights are being curtailed across the globe and innovations in medical science are occuring at a rapid pace, this bold exhibition attempts to make the clinical tangible, unpacking progressive science and complex legal and ethical responsibilities.

Taking inspiration from her own experiences, having recently received a bill of £350 from a fertility clinic to continue to store some of her embryos, Morgan attempts to explore her frozen bits in their suspended state, to begin to unpick the medical and social structures that have enabled their pausing. Against a backdrop of domesticity Morgan replicates, experiments and questions the materials and systems she unearths – from recording the sound of her own urine to conversations with researchers on the sex lives of frogs and discussions with embryologists working in Greater Manchester (home of the first ever IVF baby). Read together, her collection of new works present an unseen history of fertility.

LISTEN NOW – Tale of the Frozen Bits: a conversation

A conversation with exhibiting Artist El Morgan, Professor of Clinical Embryology at the University of Manchester Daniel Brison and Professor of Reproductive Biomedicine at the University of Manchester John Aplin.

WATCH NOW – Tale of the Frozen Bits at Castlefield Gallery

El Morgan introduces Tale of the Frozen Bits in this video, filmed and edited by Jules Lister.

Throughout the Tale of the Frozen Bits exhibition the gallery will host a series of in person events:

Jamie Sutcliffe & El Morgan in conversation – 10 March 2023, 6:30 – 8pm
Writer, Curator, and Co-Director of Strange Attractor Press Jamie Sutcliffe has been commissioned to produce a text responding to themes within the exhibition Tale of the Frozen Bits. He will be discussing his writing in conversation with El Morgan at Castlefield Gallery.
Limited capacity, please book here. £4  / free  for anyone on a low-income and for Castlefield Gallery Associates.

Frogs, Fertility and Climate Change 11 March 2023, 1pm – 5:30pm
Meet the frogs, 1pm – 4pm: Matthew O’Donnell, Assistant Curator of Herpetology at Manchester Museum will be bringing a mixture of frogs and amphibians to the gallery for visitors to interact with and learn more about the Museum’s research into climate change, breading and frog fertility.
It will be a drop in event throughout the afternoon.
Talk with Dr Lottie Hosie and Matthew O’Donnell, 4.30pm – 5.30pm: Matthew and Lottie will be discussing their shared research and knowledge of frogs, fertility and mating behaviours.
Limited capacity, please book your free tickets here

Written fictions – 15 February 2023, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Workshop with Writer Hannah Knowles exploring storytelling and the more than human narratives in the exhibition.
This event is sold-out.

Tale of the Frozen Bits was selected from proposals submitted by Castlefield Gallery Associates by guest selector artist Harold Offeh, Castlefield Gallery Curator and Deputy Director Matthew Pendergast and Castlefield Gallery Associates Coordinator Laura Mansfield.